I’ve had many people say to me over the years that they want to start a blog but don’t quite know how, or are unsure what to post, so today I thought I’d share a few tips with you that I’ve learned along the way. If you’re a regular reader here then you may already know that I’ve been blogging since 2010, after having to set one up as part of a university project. Because of that I did get a little bit of help in the initial stages of building mine – in terms of deciding on an overall theme and really solidifying it – but for the most part I just had to get on with it on my own. A lot of my classmates’ blogs fell by the way-side after that initial project, but I continued to use mine to build up a portfolio of work – and because I enjoyed it.
However, I’m not an expert on this by any means: I don’t have millions of followers or views, I’m not a household name (like Zoella or Tanya Burr) and I certainly don’t get paid for anything you see on here. I do it because it’s what I love: my passion and my hobby (which I hope one day will become my career.)
Now, if you’re thinking of starting a blog, you’ve probably got an idea of what you want to write about and that ties in with my first tip:
#1 Find a Theme.
Finding a particular theme for your blog will help you stay focused, as well as help readers in getting to know what kind of content to expect from your blog – and whether or not they will want to come back. This will help you target the right audience as well as build your readership.
That’s not to say that having a more ‘random’ blog, where you write about totally different things each time and nothing inter-relates, is a bad thing – you do what suits you. However, it’s a lot easier for people to decide to come back if the theme is consistent, for example if they know it’s a ‘cooking blog’, a ‘mother and baby blog’, or a ‘music blog.’
When I started mine, I remember my university tutor asking us to think about what sort of blog we wanted to create, of course our collective response was ‘music’, but how did we each make our own blogs stand apart? He then asked us to narrow it down so we didn’t have such a broad focus and – after having a chat with him – mine ended up being new bands, as I love discovering great emerging artists and sharing them with people.
Although my blog has since evolved on from that – as I do write about established artists and I also write about non-music related things from time to time – having that tight focus in the beginning will help you find your niche. It will help you establish a uniqueness that will make people want to read your blog rather than someone else’s.
#2 Don’t Worry
When you’re starting a blog and putting part of yourself online, it can be all too easy to over think the things you want to post, then you put it off and end up not posting anything. Embrace the fact that your first few posts aren’t going to be your best. Some of my first few posts were awful, layout-wise they were just full of text – no images, no videos. But, that’s okay because you’re still finding your feet. Looking back on my older posts I can also see that over the years my writing has got stronger, and that’s totally normal too. When I interviewed The Summer Set’s Brian Dales, back in 2012, he said: ‘the more you practice your craft, the better you get at it.’ That is very true in this case.
Revel in the fact that you have no one to answer to either; no one starts out with six million Twitter followers. So, while you’re starting out and discovering what works and what doesn’t, don’t worry too much.
Click here to see my interview with The Summer Set’s Brian Dales :).
#3 Be Consistent
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always been the best at being consistent, but I feel I’ve been getting better at it, particularly this year. I aim to upload one new post a week, and I’ve also done some monthly series’ like ‘Jammin’ In July’. The key is to get some posts written ahead of time and have them scheduled for upload, because naturally other things have to take priority sometimes.
When I’ve done my monthly series’ – such as ‘Jammin’ In July’ or ‘Journaling in January’ – I’ve noticed that I’d get a lot more traffic than a standard month, because I’m posting more content. This also helps when growing your audience because people become familiar with your content and know when to come back. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, as I briefly touched on before. No one’s going to hold it against you if you’re ill, or any other extenuating circumstances – we’re all human, that’s life.
#4 Don’t Let Disappointments Get You Down
When you’re putting things online, you have to grow a thick skin. There have been times when I’ve sent out interview requests – or interview questions – and I’ve never heard back, or I’ve organised face to face interviews and they’ve fallen through. But, the important thing is not to let it upset you; don’t become disheartened and think ‘oh that’s it, I’m going to stop blogging.’
I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason, so whenever something a little disappointing like that happens I always tend to think: ‘well there’s a reason that interview fell through, it wasn’t meant to be at this time.’ For example, I tried for an entire year to get an interview with Room 94. That was a year of countless emails to all different email addresses and zero replies, then suddenly about a month after my final email I got a reply from the band’s manager asking if I’d still like to interview them, and it was one of the most fun interviews I’ve ever done.
Even now when I write reviews about artists I really admire and they send me a message to say thank you, or share what I’ve written in any way, it’s an amazing feeling. It reminds me why I do what I do; because people do appreciate it and good things can come of it. Be persistent and keep going.
Click here to see my interview with Room 94 :).
#5 Have Fun!
I’m guessing that you started blogging, or you want to start blogging, because it’s something you’re passionate about and something you’re good at, right? You wouldn’t start a blog if you hated the idea of it, that’d be pointless! Remember why you started doing it in the first place and hold on to it.
I’ve gone through times when I’ve not been in the right mind, not posted anything for a month or so, and gone back to it when I’ve felt better – and that’s ok. I needed that little break to remind me why I fell in love with writing and music in the first place. To get the hunger back.
As a rule, I choose not to write when I’m not feeling 100% because I pride myself on a sense of positivity; I want my enthusiasm for what I’m writing about to be reflected and I want my readers to feel it too. I also believe that your best work won’t come from forcing yourself. For me, music is my passion and because of that I never want it to feel like work; I want to enjoy it. I never want to wake up in the morning and think ‘urgh, I have to blog.’ Just let it happen, after all, it’s meant to be enjoyable.
One of my favourite quotes is: ‘love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life,’ because to some degree it will always be fun. I’m not saying that you won’t have to work hard, I work my butt off on my content, what I’m getting at is this: whatever you decide to do you should enjoy.
So, those are my ‘Top 5 Blogging Tips’. There are also other important things such as SEO and tagging – so that people using search engines can find your posts – as well as tagging relevant people/celebrities on social media. When I write reviews I always tag the band, or individual artists, on social media – if they see your post and share it with their followers, that means even more views for you. Win, win 🙂
I hope that some, if not all, of the above points are helpful for anyone looking to start a blog. Like I said, I’m not an expert but these are things I’ve learned along the way during my six years of blogging.
As always thank you for reading. I’m blogging every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout November as its ‘National Blog Posting Month’. However, my schedule has gone a bit awry lately as I’ve had a lot going on. To keep up to date with my upcoming posts, come and join me on Facebook & Twitter, and to see what else is coming up throughout the rest of this month, click here.🙂